Why Man Utd must be keen on Chelsea's Torres

Atletico raise the stakes by putting £50m tag on Falcao

Manchester United has been put on alert after Chelsea virtually put Fernando Torres on sale by offering the Spaniard plus £15 million to Atletico Madrid for Radamel Falcao.

The La Liga side have raised the stakes by putting a £50 million price tag on striker Falcao who has flourised since moving from Portugal to Atletico last summer, according to the Daily Mail.

Falcao has caught the attention of talent scouts after netting 26 goals in 37 games for Atletico since his arrival from Porto.

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Atletico would prefer a cash-only deal for Falcoa who bagged 33 in 36 outings under Andre Villas-Boas last season, including 17 in 14 Europa League games for winners Porto to set a new European scoring record.

He continued that stunning form again this season with another 24 goals in 34 games for Atletico - including two goals in the Europa League final against Athletic Bilbao.

Falcao's 11th and 12th goals of the tournament not only earned him the top scorer prize ahead of Schalke's Klaas Jan Huntelaar but took his all-time record in the competition to 29 in 29 games.

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This is in stark contrast to the performance of Torres who has failed to live up to the British transfer record fee of £50 million.

He virtually froze in front of goal and fell down the pecking order under former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas. Interim manager Roberto Di Matteo managed to instill some confidence somewhat in the Spaniard who scored his first Chelsea hat-trick against Queens Park Rangers.

But this is not enough to prevent Blues from offloading him at the earliest opportunity which is why they offered a swap deal with Atletico for Colombian striker Falcao, named after the great Brazilian footballer of the 1982 and 1986 World Cup teams.

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Falcao himself has played down talk linking him with moves to Chelsea or Manchester City.

He said: "The press said that Manchester City and Chelsea want me, but I am calm about this.

"I know La Liga is watched all across the world and it is normal that if I do good work many clubs watch me.

"But I insist now I am only focused on obtaining success with Atletico."

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However, if United could get Torres on a free transfer, Sir Alex Ferguson would be able to unlock his scoring power.

Ferguson is aware that to have any hope of launching a simultaneous attack on the league, Europe and home cups, his bench must match that of newly crowned champions Manchester City.

City bring Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli, Edin Zeko, David Silva and Samir Nasri to pitch.

United look somewhat like with Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck, Dimitar Berbatov and Ashley Young.

Sir Alex has always been the wily one in spotting the “unwanted” striker, and then using him to profitable effect.

Think Henrik Larson and his effect on United’s title run in 2007.

Think Michael Owen and his extra time goal against Manchester City that all but put doomed Mark Hughes’ reign there.

If anyone can turn Torres around Sir Alex can.

It’s a shot in the dark, but one that might wound Chelsea, Liverpool and more importantly, Manchester City.

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